Samsung’s latest tablet offering, the Galaxy Tab S2, is available in two sizes, 8.0-and 9.7 inches. Options include a WiFi-only version or an LTE version. Incorporating Samsung’s own Exynos 5433 processor, the tablet runs on Android 5.0. The Galaxy Tab S2 has 3GB of RAM. The 8.0-inch model ships with 32GB of storage, while the 9.7-inch model is offered in 32GB and 64GB storage options. Pricing begins at $400 for the 8.0-inch version and $500 for the 9.7-inch model.
Substantially thinner and lighter than their iPad competitors, the Galaxy Tab S2 models take advantage of Samsung’s Super AMOLED 2,048 x 1,563 displays. Super AMOLED displays utilize two layers compared to three on regular AMOLED as the touch sensitive layer is incorporated into the screen itself. The resulting display is thinner, lighter and less reflective for better viewing.
An additional advantage of the two-layer approach is the Super AMOLED displays use 20% less power than regular AMOLED displays. The Exynos 5433 processor cores are also designed for energy efficiency. By incorporating a pair of quad-core Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57, simple task such as the tablet’s GPS only needs to run on the A53 core while heavier task such as powering a high graphic game is run by the A57.
The Galaxy Tab S2 provides out of the box support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), the latest video compression technology, allowing for a 50% reduction in file size compared to the previous, Advance Video Coding (AVC) process. Smaller files require lower bandwidth consumption when streaming videos, which provides additional power efficiency for video centric users.
One of the more interesting features of the new Galaxy Tab S2 models is the aspect ratio. Built on a 4:3 screen format they echo the configuration of the Galaxy Tab A line, introduced in May and represent a departure from Samsung’s traditional 16:10, 16:9 and 17:10 screen formats. In a nod to Apple, the new units utilize a 4:3 display format. This is closer to the shape of a physical book, to which consumers are already accustomed. The 4:3 format also allows for easier pivoting between landscape and portrait modes, which makes it ideal for multi-purpose use from entertainment to productivity. From its inception the iPad has incorporated 4:3 displays, one of the few vendors to offer tablets in this configuration.
Profitability has proved elusive for many players in the tablet market and aggressive pricing has been a key component of Samsung’s unit growth strategy in the past. In an Android marketplace, crowded with Me Too products, Samsung is taking a gamble that its highly differentiated hardware will prove to be the perfect lure for those much desired premium customers. If this succeeds, Samsung has a much better path to success in the tablet market.